Tuesday, April 29, 2008

For the Biker

This I received from Missy...a cyberspace friend I have met through Soldiers Angels. She lives in VA. All of the below....true.

I guess if I want to consider myself a 'biker'..then I will say I have done rides to raise money for muscular dystrophy, breast cancer, children with cancer, and many others. 'Poker runs' frequently get organized to raise money for someone who is ill, injured or who has lost a family member...spouse, child. Many times 'the hat' has been passed at our local HOG chapter meeting to help out an employee/chapter member who is ill or injured, or their surviving family members, or maybe the neighbor child of a member. Have you ever seen that group of riders..thousands... who participate in the USMC "Toys for Tots' run? The list could go on and on. So, before you turn your nose up at us, remember what you just read. Someday the hat might just be passed for you or your child.

The days of 'Hell's Angels' are pretty much gone, I think. We don't always need a reason to ride, sometimes it just makes the ride sweeter.


For the sister of a man who was killed on a bike because of someone else's carelessness, this is especially poingant. My brother was a trained French Chef. He was one of the founders of Baltimore's Ugliest Bartender Contest - which raises money for Children's Charities, he rode for various Children's Causes. He spoke three languages. He was a loving and devoted son, brother, uncle and friend. He supported the troops before it was popular to do so. He rode a Kawasaki Verago. He was killed on Sept. 2nd, 1985 in Waldorf, Md. because someone wanted to save some money and didn't properly light a tow truck. His headlight picked up the truck and he laid the bike down to avoid it, but could not clear the boom. At the traffic trial of the man involved (whom I have forgiven), a Maryland State Trooper said, in my hearing, "All this fuss for a G*d Damned Biker." I have not forgiven the Trooper yet. You may include this in your forward, if you would like. His name was Greg. I still miss him. Missy


I saw you, hug your purse closer to you in the grocery store line. But, you didn't see me, put an extra $10.00 in the collection outside the store as I walked in.

I saw you; pull your child closer when we passed each other on the sidewalk. But, you didn't see me, playing Santa at the local mall.

I saw you, change your mind about going into the restaurant. But, you didn't see me, attending a meeting to raise more money for the hurricane relief.

I saw you , roll up your window and shake your head when I rode by. But, you didn't see me, riding behind you when you flicked your cigarette butt out the car window.

I saw you, frown at me when I smiled at your children. But, you didn't see me, when I took time off from work to run toys to the homeless.

I saw you, stare at my long hair. But, you didn't see me, and my friends cut ten inches off for Locks of Love.

I saw you, roll your eyes at our leather jackets and gloves. But, you didn't see me, and my brothers donate our old ones to those that had none.

I saw you, look in fright at my tattoos. But, you didn't see me, cry as my children were born and have their name written over and in my heart.

I saw you, change lanes while rushing off to go somewhere. But, you didn't see me, going home to be with my family.

I saw you, complain about how loud and noisy our bikes can be. But, you didn't see me, when you were changing the CD and drifted into my lane.

I saw you, yelling at your kids in the car. But, you didn't see me, pat my child's hands, knowing he was safe behind me.

I saw you, reading the newspaper or map as you drove down the road. but, you didn't see me, squeeze my wife's leg when she told me to take the next turn.

I saw you, race down the road in the rain. But, you didn't see me, get soaked to the skin so my son could have the car to go on his date.

I saw you, run the yellow light just to save a few minutes of time. But, you didn't see me, trying to turn right.

I saw you, cut me off because you needed to be in the lane I was in. But, you didn't see me, leave the road.

I saw you, waiting impatiently for my friends to pass. But, you didn't see me. I wasn't there.

I saw you, go home to your family. But, you didn't see me. Because, I died that day you cut me off.

I was just a biker. A person with friends and a family. But, you didn't see me.



Author Unknown

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Peace Through the Heart of a Child

Have you ever heard the saying, "When GOD closes one door, he opens another."? How many of us really believe that, or do we dwell on the door which has just closed forgetting to look for the one which might have just opened? I know I have had many doors closed in my past, and many more opened. Some doors remain closed forever, some reopen later and some just never quite close completely. In thinking about closed and opened doors, can we not go back and see a path of events that have led us to where we are today?

Baking cookies this morning for my newest adopted soldier, my thoughts took the path as to how I got to baking these cookies. How far back could I go to 'doors' that led up to this? I stopped at my first marriage in 1971 and the divorce that followed in 1982. I suppose I could go further, but that was as much as my brain was going to handle without a headache. As devastated as I was over that divorce, it was a closed door that ended up opening so many more, and yes closing some. I have met many people. I have made many friends. I have given love, lost love and found new love in many different forms. Some are a memory, some I will carry forever in my heart.

Through all of these doors I came to be the 'angel' for a soldier stationed in Afghanistan. We have become great friends. I have felt his pain, despair, loneliness, and fear as he continued and then extended his tour to last several more months. His reason, completely unselfish. While in Afghanistan, he met and befriended a small child, Soman. She was ill when he met her. Being the good man he is, he would sneak her milk and juice. As he related the story to me, I took up the cause sending him boxes of food items, toys, vitamins, tylenol, etc. With the goodness of the hearts of him and the other soldiers, his wife and myself we were able to get her back into good health and back into school. The klinker came when an Afghani man decided he was not liking the 'giving' of these Americans. He wanted to 'take over' the delivery of items to her. Well, we all knew what would happen to them. To make a long story short, Soman was no longer allowed to receive anything from us. My soldier's e-mails to me were filled with anger and sadness.

We never hear about the good things that happen in Afghanistan or Iraq. The MSM is full of the latest suicide bomber, the latest uprising of terrorist movement. How often do we hear of the people who are able to travel without the protection of the military? How often do we hear of the schools that are being built or reopened...the hospitals? Do we hear of clean water supplies, markets that are reopened? NO! Should we wonder why our military personal become so frustrated?

With my soldier's redeployment a door will close (well...not completely!), but another one has opened. First, 'something' happened that will again allow Soman to receive items from my self and others. Wink...smiles! Second, a daycare center has been started in the area where the soldiers, who will remain deployed, are stationed. A daycare center? Could that mean people are working more? Could that mean things are better? The door that has opened for me, the 'needs' that are required for them....for the children.

As war continues in both countries, children are affected beyond something we as Americans will hopefully never have to experience. As these children grow up they will see what is around them much as our own children see, in say, our inner cities. The environment can have an astounding affect on a child. Will they see nothing but war, violence, that America and the rest of the world must be destroyed as everything else is evil? Is it possible one child can be turned around to see there IS another world out there that does not condem their lives to that of despair? Can they have their eyes opened to a life that is worth more than a suicide bomber? As we look to our children for our future, should we not look to these children as the future of their countries and if we are to sacrifice for their future also, should we not at least do our utmost to show them there is 'better' for them than what they already have?

My new 'door' is to help the current group of 'Wolf Pack' with needs for that daycare center, be it toys, blankets, pillows, diapers, clothing...whatever it takes. Maybe by touching the heart of a child, just maybe it will be Soman, or other children, who will be the catalyst for peace in the future. Maybe by showing them there is good that happens even in the midst of evil, they will band together in the future...to be the 'future.

Maybe there can be peace, through the heart of a child.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Desperate Housewives or The Stepford Wives?

How far will one go to obtain the look of eternal youth? How soon will it be before we have a country, or world, of women...and some men...who look like a version of Joan Rivers?

For as long as I can remember it seems we have been on the search for the elusive 'fountain of youth'. Aging is what many consider a curse, something not to be experienced. We must stop it at all costs!

While I turned 56 this week, I do not consider myself 'old'. I have gone through the stepping stone birthdays of 30, 40 and 50 with barely the flutter of an eyelash. I have always said, "You are as old as you feel, or as young as you feel." Some days I feel older, or younger, than others. My 30th birthday was no big deal. I was too busy raising kids. My 40th, well I was 'roasted' at work and had a great time. I laughed until my sides hurt. I wish I still had that video, but I think one of my kids recorded over it. Hmm?

I planned my own 50th birthday party, partly to be 'safe' and partly so I would be sure it would not be missed! While many do not want to make it known they have turned 50, I was having a great time. I bought the t-shirt, It Took Me 50 Years To Look This Good!, and wore it proudly. We had music, food, drinks, cake and some pretty 'bad' pictures from days gone by. But hey, if you can't laugh at yourself, who can? I was 'roasted' again, with many stories, some I had forgotten. It was great to have family and friends remember those things. While some of my adventures in my past might not have been so great at the time, I just shrug my shoulders now and laugh. I am long past the threat of 'getting grounded' stage, and I turned out 'ok' afterall.

As I look in the mirror now, I see some signs of aging; laugh lines, worry lines, crows feet, etc. I figure each and every one of them has a story. The laugh lines and smile crinkles around my eyes tell me I have had some happy times in my past. Raising kids, being concerned about family and friends have caused the creases that my kids say actually come from 'the look'. 'The look' got results in the past, and still does today!

Hollywood has told us we need to look young to be successful, to be noticed. While many stars and starlets have had more plastic inserted, botox injected, skin nipped and tucked, fat suctioned, how often do we hear of them being happy? It seems their larger breasts, smaller noses, tighter skin, plumper lips or more pronounced cheekbones, wider eyes, smaller thighs and hips, tucked ears, hair plugs, lighter or darker skin has produced nothing in the way of happiness or contentment with themselves as a person. They still drink too much, take too many drugs to wake them up, put them to sleep, give them energy, relax them or make them happy.

As I see it, most of this is geared towards women. We have allowed ourselves to be belittled about our looks, told how we should look to be happy or successful. It appears our capability at a job is not what matters, but our appearance does. Because of this, many women spend money and time on the constant search for youth, for perfection, for approval, for happiness. We enhance our breasts so men will notice us, but if asked could they tell us the color of our eyes? I actually had one ex-husband tell me he would 'take me back' if I had my breasts enlarged. I figured if that was the criteria he was looking for, and besides I was the one who needed to do the 'taking back', not him...this was not an option!

An individual needs to be just that, individual. No amount of plastic is going to make you happier inside or a better person. While it might boost your ego for a while, how soon before something else is not 'just right' and needs to be fixed? How soon will it be when everything has been 'fixed' but the same issues inside are still there haunting you? No matter what you look like, you are still 30, 40, 50 or 60. You can be yourself or you can be 'desperate' and controlled by what/who others dictate.

In 4 years I will be 60. I think I'll have a party. I hope I still have the capability to work. I hope I can still get my wrinkled and crinkled self on my Harley and go for a ride, or tear around in my Jeep. I want to still be the coolest grand ma. I will still wear jeans and a t-shirt. I wonder if I can find one that says...It Took Me 60 Years To Look This Good! Most of all I hope I am happy and that I can have that birthday because the alternative...well...it is just not acceptable yet!


Wednesday, April 23, 2008

E-mail Petitions Going Nowhere!

Again today, I received an e-mail asking me to sign an on-line petition and when the 1,000th person signs it they should then forward it to 'whoever'. I believe this time it was to go to the president. I have seen this same petition over the past few years, therefore I figure it is probably outdated. I know these petitions mean nothing and past experience has shown me the e-mail address attached to return, if you are signer number 1,000, usually does not exist.

Could this just be a means to search out active e-mail addresses only to then send on more junk mail than one needs? Or, is it a way to get into your computer and just be a mean and evil person? Possibly the person who started the entire thing is honest and just trying to get some issue resolved. If so, I applaud them. BUT, if you find the issue of interest relevant and you so desire to take action you are more likely able to get results by contacting the party either by mail or phone. For instance, you feel an issue your elected government official should take notice to would be better served by actually contacting that person's office either by phone, mail, or by the e-mail located in their website. While it might sound easy and more powerful to have your name attached to an e-mail petition that supports 1,000 names, you can never be sure it is real and that signer 1,000..or anyone past your name...will actually send it on.

I delete each and everyone I receive, so please do not count on me to get your name to where you expect it to go. Pick up the phone, write a letter, send a personal e-mail to the person(s) you need to contact. If 1,000 people did the same, the impact would be greater. The phone ringing off the hook in a congressional office by 1,000 people or 1,000 letters being dumped on their desk has impact. A single e-mail that ends up in most everyone's delete file goes nowhere.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Never Alone

I have not posted for a while, one reason being this computer was 'down' again and in the geek shop for a cleansing. It seems something bad was trying to infiltrate it and making my life miserable. I had the old dog up and running, but for some reason could not get into this site. It was something about cookies and java script, chocolate chips and a latte??? I managed the cookies thing but never cold figure out the java stuff and sometimes the stress it causes is just not worth it.

A few posts back I posted about the group, Soldiers Angels and my adopted soldiers. Yesterday I adopted a new 'son'. He is stationed in Iraq on his 3rd tour. He is 'tired' and although I know he will appreciate the box of goodies I sent him yesterday, it will be the prayers and support I give him that will make the real difference.

Today one of my emails was about a Cherokee tale. In this story the young Indian is taken into the woods at night, blindfolded and left to sit on a tree stump until he sees the sunlight come though the blindfold in the morning. If he is able to stay there and not leave, no matter how afraid he is, he is then considered a brave. During the night the young man heard many sounds that frightened him, but he stayed sitting bravely...alone. In the morning he saw the light of the sun's rays through his blindfold. When he removed it from his eyes he saw his father sitting on a stump next to him. He had not been alone after all.

All of us are like that young Cherokee. Frequently we find ourselves sitting alone in fear of what is around us. Like that young Cherokee, we are not alone as GOD is always sitting next to us whether we seem to know it or not. We ask for his guidance and pray for certain outcomes in our life. Sometimes we get what we want, but not always. When the answer is not what we want we are frustrated and angry at HIM. But when we do have our prayers answered, how often do we stop to reflect and offer up a 'thank-you'?

Lately it appears we, as Americans, have AGAIN had our belief in GOD and the fact we turn to him during times of despair rubbed into our faces. Yes, many of us are not happy with the way our country is being 'run'. Yes, when we lose a job or something else goes wrong we turn to what makes us feel better...hunting or GOD....or whatever. Yep, there are many who are tired of the whole ILLEGAL alien garbage and we speak our piece on it. None of these things makes us a racist, illiterate, nor stupid as it appears some politicians want to make us feel. It merely shows we are human. One day, and hopefully soon, maybe they will 'get it'. I am having my doubts though. Could it possibly this is one of the prayers that will not be answered as I had hoped?

Today my prayers go out to my 'boys' in Iraq and Afghanistan. I pray they are safe, that they know myself and many others support them completely. I pray they know they are the Cherokee brave, they are never alone.